Peculiar, nebulous otherworld fantasy from the author of Resurrection Man (1995), etc. The island Clouds End is the most recent to have emerged from the Mist. On the beach one day, young Brook is visited by Jo, a ``haunt'' in the shape of a gull; the haunt ``twins'' Brook, taking her semblance: a process of evil omen, since those twinned almost always come to untimely ends. But Jo demands a ship to take her to Delta, where she wishes to warn the inhabitants of an imminent attack from the mainland. So Jo, Brook, sailor Rope, and various others head for Delta--which, by the time they arrive, has already been invaded and subdued by Hazel Twist's troops at the order of the Emperor, who, quite mad, is being consumed by an inner Fire. Jo takes the Fire into herself, and the Emperor, restored, cancels the war. And there are still further complications in store for Jo, Brook, and Rope when they finally return to Clouds End. While originality is always welcome, this sort of unquantifiable froth--vague, flimsy plot, indistinguishable characters, elusive backdrop and all--will satisfy few readers.